Gary Waldhorn – The Vicar of Dibley star – dies, aged 78

The actor was best known for starring as Councillor David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley.

Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn dies

The Vicar of Dibley star Gary Waldhorn has died at the age of 78.

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The actor was best known for appearing in the Dawn French comedy as Councillor David Horton, which marked his final acting role.

Waldhorn’s son Josh confirmed to BBC News that his father died on Monday, saying in a statement: “Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly!

“He leaves behind his two grandsons, Cooper and Bayley and his son Josh. We will all miss him terribly.”

The comedy star began his television career in the late 1960s, starting off in the drama Take Three Girls before landing recurring roles in Softly, Softly: Taskforce and The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs.

He went on to appear in films such as Zeppelin, The Great Riviera Bank Robbery, Escape to Victory and The Chain, and TV shows including Space: 1999, Enemy at the Door, The Professionals, Edward & Mrs Simpson, The Gentle Touch and Minder.

Waldhorn was also a regular on the Royal Shakespeare Company stage, appearing in the RSC production of Good in 1981.

As for his other theatre roles, the actor appeared in Black Comedy alongside David Tennant on the West End in 1998 and played the title role in Henry IV at the Old Vic.

Gary Walhorn and Dawn French in The Vicar of Dibley
George Bodnar / Comic Relief via Getty Images

Waldhorn was also best known for playing Lionel Bainbridge in BBC One sitcom Brush Strokes from 1986 until 1991, after which he joined the cast of The Vicar of Dibley, playing David Horton – a snobbish Dibley councillor who was constantly embarrassed by his son Hugo (James Fleet).

The actor appeared in every episode of The Vicar of Dibley, which ran from 1994 until 2000 before returning for various specials from 2004 until 2020.

BBC Comedy released a statement following the news, writing: “Gary was an incredibly talented actor who is fondly remembered by us for his numerous appearances on some of the nation’s most treasured BBC shows, and of course as Councillor David Horton in The Vicar of Dibley.

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“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”